Skip to Main Content
U.S. Forest Service
Caring for the land and serving people

United States Department of Agriculture

Home > Search > Publication Information

  1. Share via EmailShare on FacebookShare on LinkedInShare on Twitter
    Dislike this pubLike this pub
    Author(s): Katie Greenberg; Kathleen Franzreb; Tara Keyser; Stan Zarnoch; Dean Simon; Gordon Warburton
    Date: 2015
    Source: Natural Areas Journal. 34(4): 409–422
    Publication Series: Scientific Journal (JRNL)
    Station: Southern Research Station
    PDF: Download Publication  (492.0 KB)


    Population declines of several successional-scrub bird species are partly associated with deceased habitat availability as abandoned farmlands return to forest and recently harvested forests regrow. Restoration of mixed-oak (Quercus spp.) forest is also a concern because of widespread oak regeneration failure, especially on moist, productive sites where competition from faster-growing tree species is fierce following stand-replacing disturbances. Several silvicultural methods are proposed to promote oak regeneration but many are not experimentally tested, especially on productive sites. We surveyed birds in 19 stands to assess response to initial application of three proposed oak regeneration treatments on productive sites: prescribed burning (B); oak shelterwood by midstory herbicide (OSW); shelterwood harvests (SW); and controls (C), for one breeding season before and two breeding seasons after, implementation. Relative density of successional-scrub species Indigo Buntings (Passerina cyanea), increased, while Ovenbirds (Seurus aurocapilla) decreased wisthin 11 to 18 months after SW harvests; understory disturbance treatments B or OSW had no effect. Our results indicated that partial harvests created habitat for breeding birds associated with both young and mature forests, whereas understory treatments had little effect. Additionally, we show that even small patches of young forest habitat are used by more individuals and more species of breeding birds than surrounding closed-canopy forest, and may benefit successional-scrub species by enabling their occurrence in an otherwise forested landscape. Absence of several lower-elevation successional-scrub bird species in our mid-elevation SW harvests, suggests that comprehensive conservation in the southern Appalachians necessitates creating and maintaining young forest habitats across elevation gradients.

    Publication Notes

    • You may send email to to request a hard copy of this publication.
    • (Please specify exactly which publication you are requesting and your mailing address.)
    • We recommend that you also print this page and attach it to the printout of the article, to retain the full citation information.
    • This article was written and prepared by U.S. Government employees on official time, and is therefore in the public domain.


    Greenberg, C.H.; Franzreb, K.E.; Keyser, T.L. [and others]. 2014. Short-term response of breeding birds to oak regeneration treatments in upland hardwood forest. Natural Areas Journal. 34(4): 409–422. 15 p.


    Google Scholar


    Bird community, early successional habitat, oak regeneration, prescribed fire, silvicuture

    Related Search

    XML: View XML
Show More
Show Fewer
Jump to Top of Page